An Englewood choir legacy earns a spot at All-State Choir

Jaydin Webb, Editor-in-chief

She had a good idea it would happen for her. Junior, Elspeth Wooldridge, is only the second student in two years to make it into the prestigious choir. 


Thousands of students all over Colorado spent months practicing solos, scales, sight-reading, and intervals at the minuscule chance of getting into the coveted All-State choir. Four EHS students tried out, one made it. 


“Actually, I didn’t know about All-State until I got into the middle school choir. I heard most of the ETC (Englewood Talent Company) members, had tried out my freshmen year and none of them made it. I was just interested in the opportunity and experience.”


Wooldridge comes from a long line of Englewood choir members. Her grandmother was in the choir in the ’60s and still helps with choir events and performances. Her mother graduated in 2001 and was also in the choir, she also helps with choir events, “My family was in the choir when they were in high school. My mother tried out for all-state and didn’t make it. My grandmother didn’t try out because she didn’t know it existed. My aunt on my grandfather’s side tried out and didn’t make it.” 

Garlyn Saddler
Junior Elspeth Wooldridge has been singing her entire life and is the latest in a long line of EHS choir members.

“I decided I would try out at the beginning of the year. I have loved being in any musical program and being in All-State is crazy.” 


Practicing for the tryouts began in her freshman year because she says, choir director, Garlyn Saddler, makes a point to prepare all students for the opportunity to try out for All-State starting in middle school all the way through high school till they are Juniors and Seniors. 


“Practicing includes running through scales, sight-reading, and intervals. You also have to prepare a solo song by your junior and senior year.” 


In order to audition for Colorado All-State Choir, students must be a junior or senior and must be currently enrolled in their high school vocal music program.


“At first, it’s a terrifying experience thinking even a small mistake could ruin your chances of being accepted into all-state, but after you start singing, the feeling in the room becomes more relaxed and by the end, you feel more confident then when you first walked in.” 


There are strict rules as soon as you enter the audition room. No cell phones, no personal belongings and no articles of clothing that say your school name. She came with a paid copy of her song.

Then, it’s just her, the accompanist, and the judge. First, she sang her solo. It’s worth 50 points. 

“For my solo, I sang American Lullaby.” Judges are looking for tone, intonation, accuracy, diction, and musicality, “It felt completely natural. My tone and pitch were on point. I never stuttered and the accompanist never got lost,” said Wooldridge. 


Next, she ran intervals. The judge plays notes and she had to name them. She also needed to show a sense of tonality. Then she ran musical scales worth 10 points.  Sight-reading was worth 10 points, “Of all the basic skills I needed to prepare, I felt the least prepared in sight-reading. I have no idea why. I’m usually really good at sight-reading and there were accidental notes in the music and I didn’t know how to read it.” 


She left the audition feeling confident, “I felt confident and calm knowing the audition was finally over.” 


News that she was accepted into the elite All-State choir came as it does every year, just before Thanksgiving, “I was and everyone else was expecting me to get in. I also felt nervous because I know that All-State would take up a lot of my time from school and sports.”  


Now she earns the honor of representing EHS, “First of all, I’m wearing as much (Englewood) gear as possible. I’m not going to show any fear in front of the other choir members and the audience in February.”


All-State choir members get their music the week before Thanksgiving break. They must spend every day practicing music and memorizing their parts before January. At that time, choir members will audition again to secure their spot. Singers stay in a hotel in downtown Denver and will spend three days rehearsing with every member. The All-State event at the Buell Theater is in February 2020.  

Recent past EHS All-State Choir members: 

2018 AJ Lee

2016 Zane Miller & Jonathan Schroeder

2015 Isaiah Harris

2012 Noelle Flores

2010 Justin Schroeder

2008 Bobby Miller

2007 Bobby Miller

2005 Ryan Seay

2002 Joel Burrage, Jessica Storey, Braden Rauen, and Theresa Taylor

2001 Joel Burrage, Hannah Noland